Local
4:57 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Commission to Create and Strengthen Child Protection Laws

In the wake of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, Pennsylvania lawmakers are creating a bipartisan commission to strengthen and create new laws to protect children. The Senate GOP spokesman said that he expects a resolution creating the joint task force to be considered and approved next week.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are bringing attention to the various bills that they've proposed or will propose to make kids safer. Pennsylvania Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks County) says that her caucus also wants a thorough review of institutional boards.

"Many of us hope to see legislative hearings into the operation, responsibility, and accountability of the boards of colleges and universities to make sure that appropriate standards are spelled out in the future in the law," said Swank.

Penn State's board of Trustees came under intense scrutiny after the ouster of school president Graham Spanier and football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of abuse charges filed against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Lawmakers in all four caucuses say that the case lends urgency to the parade of proposals aiming to, among other things, change the state's abuse reporting requirements and create a Child's Ombudsman who would investigate abuse complaints. Lawmakers say that a commission should be ready to work by January.